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Circumstances: I am a Sophomore at a University System of Georgia college, and am required to take Spanish for my degree. The professor requires students to purchase a license to 3rd party software in order to access all course content, instead of hosting the content on the provided college platform which has most needed capabilities. Start of the semester, I had to shell out about 100 bucks for the privilege of being able to access the course I already paid for. Part of the 3rd party software is testing that requires yet another browser extension for proctoring tests. One feature that this plugin has that the college-provided testing platform does not is that if it thinks you are attempting to exit the full screen proctoring page, after 30 seconds of continued attempts it will lock you out and end the exam.

The issue: I was taking my final on my family computer which I have taken other proctored tests on before without issue, and when I was mostly done, a pop-up windows notification came up, putting the window out of full screen. The page and computer froze since the laptop is not high end, and by the time it unfroze, 30 seconds had passed and the exam was closed. I emailed my instructor about it immediately, requesting that it be reopened, but the next morning I got a reply that it could not be reopened without resetting all progress on the exam, which was not an option. They sent me two of the remaining questions which were reading comprehension and let me answer those, but other than that I cannot go back and finish the exam.

I am worried that I might fail the class due to the weight the exam grade holds, and at the very least I think my grade will be significantly impacted for the worse. Are they legally required to give me an equal opportunity as other students to finish the exam, since it was their software that they forced us to purchase that had an issue which I couldn't control?

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  • I can’t see how requiring you to buy software is any different from requiring you to buy a textbook. Or, for that matter, stationary – Dale M Dec 17 '20 at 21:03
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    If you haven't already, try asking for advice on Academia. They're good at giving practical advice for these situations. – Studoku Dec 18 '20 at 12:18
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Probably Not

In general, the law gives a school significant discretion on how to run its courses and grade its exams. And it is unlikely that getting into a lawsuit over a grade will be a good way to proceed.

You could explain more fully to your instructor why you feel unfairly treated, and if not satisfied by the response, go to the department chair or other higher authority as the structure of the school may provide.

I would suppose that the instructor had permission to require the 3rd party software, or that school policy gives an instructor that option. It might be worth confirming that, however.

For future tests you might be able to shutdown or suspend all popups to avoid the problem happening again. A "game mode" sometimes will do that.

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